Nissan Robo-Leaf to Begin Testing in Japan

Most of the world, some Japanese included, even, might call Nissan’s autonomous driving technology just like that: autonomous. But that would be too dull for Nissan, the inventor of the electric vehicle for the masses, so they went on calling the automated Leaf a robo-vehicle.
Nissan Leaf Easy Ride 1 photo
Photo: Nissan
Ever since a year ago, the carmaker said it partnered with software specialist DeNA to create a “mobility service for anyone who wants to travel freely to their destination of choice in a robo-vehicle.” Simply put, a driverless taxi.

Starting March 5, a small fleet of robo-Leafs will start field tests, driving at first on a set 4.5 km route (2.8 miles) between Nissan's global headquarters in Yokohama and the World Porters shopping center.

The test will be conducted with volunteers, who at the end of their ordeal will have to complete a survey about their overall user experience. If all goes well, Nissan plans to expand its taxi business on new routes.

According to the carmaker, a fully functioning such service is expected to be ready sometime in 2020.

“The field test will enable Nissan and DeNA to learn from the experience of operating the Easy Ride service trial with public participation, as both companies look toward future commercial endeavors,” says Nissan in a statement.

The Leaf electric vehicle, the world’s first ever such machine to be mass produced, has proven so successful that Nissan announced earlier this month plans to begin selling it in seven new markets in the Southeast Asia region. The area area is expected to have an average growth of 40 percent in consumer interest in the following years.

In January 2018, Nissan sold the 300,000th Leaf worldwide, less than ten years since its introduction in 2010.

Together with other electric models in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi portfolio, Carlos Ghosn’s group was confident to say that currently, it is the single automaker “who's starting to make money selling electric cars."
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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